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Chile port strike spreads; Codelco copper shipments hit

Keywords: Tags  Codelco, copper, port strike, Chuquicamata, Minera Gaby, Radomiro Tomic, BHP Billton, Carolina Guerra

SÃO PAULO — Chilean copper producer Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) is looking for alternative ways to export copper as more ports in the country join the stevedores’ strike, which started at Angamos.

"At Mejillones, we have the same situation ... boarding (is) halted and a ship (is) waiting to be loaded," a Codelco official told AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin. "At central Chile’s San Antonio, the strike began yesterday. Until now it did not impact us much. Only a shipment with a small volume was delayed."

Besides Angamos and San Antonio, workers at Antofagasta and Iquique ports in northern Chile have joined the strike, according to local media reports.

Stevedores at Angamos went on a strike March 16, demanding better working conditions from Ultraport, the company which operates the ports.

Angamos is used by Codelco to ship copper from Chuquicamata, the company’s largest project, as well as from the Minera Gaby and Radomiro Tomic mines, according to information from Chilean newspaper La Tercera. No details on the volume and destination of the copper halted at Chilean ports were given.

BHP Billiton Plc’s Escondida and Spence mines also ship some material from Angamos.

"The port is cleared and guarded by Chilean maritime authorities. Talks with the union in order to reach an agreement continue," the Codelco official said.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.

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